MARTIN O’Neill has told South Koreans that Ji Dong-won has the ability to make it as a Premier League player in England.
But he says that the young international prospect needs to develop physically, if he is fully deliver on his potential.
Speaking at the launch of the Peace Cup in Suwon yesterday, he addressed local interest in the 21-year-old striker, by saying: “He has what it takes to succeed.
“Ji is technically a very, very good player.
“He has to come to terms with the physical element of the English game – that’s the real challenge facing him.
“But if he rises to that challenge then he can go on to become a very, very good Premier League player for us.
“What I can say, though, is that he’s adapting well and it’s up to him now.
“It really is up to him.
“At the moment he is away with the Olympic team due to perform in London, but he sends his regards to everyone in South Korea and I’m sure he’ll be cheering Sunderland on in the Peace Cup.”
O’Neill went into today’s opening game of the Peace Cup, against Seongnam, with no injury worries.
Centre-back Titus Bramble needed stitches for a facial injury accidentally picked up in training, but that does not prevent him being available for the match.
O’Neill said: “The hospitality, the hotel, the food and facilities we’ve had since arriving in South Korea could not have been any better and we’re looking forward to the tournament.
“The Peace Cup is a very important competition and one we want to do well in it.
“We’re still very raw in terms of sharpness because this early in our pre-season, but we’re improving by the day.”
Follow Graeme on Twitter